Seth Anderson is somewhat of an anomaly. He’s a singer-songwriter who often gets booked for punk rock shows and festivals. He’s a punk rock soul with a gentle, yet powerful voice who has a knack for melody and vivid storytelling. With an album out on Joey Cape’s (Lagwagon) One Week Records and a couple albums in the works, he has been touring relentlessly. Punknews' Pete Vincelli caught up with Seth at a recent show in Asbury Park, NJ to talk about Pouzza Fest, recording with Joey Cape, and some of his musical influences.
So let’s start off with Pouzza, how was it? It was really great. I’ve been there a few times. This was my 4th or 5th year playing and from going so many times, there’s so many friends you see, it’s kinda like FEST in Florida, you only get to see them once or twice a year. And everybody’s in one place and it’s not very often you get to see all your friends in these bands in one place. It’s really cool!
So how does Pouzza work? I know there’s a few main stages and some club shows, right? There’s one main stage in a public park and there was maybe 7 or 8 other bar venues that hosted shows.
Now who did you play with? They coined it as a One Week showcase with Walt Hamburger and Jon Snodgrass.I got to watch those guys which was awesome.
So you’ve never played with them? I’ve played with Walt before and actually, Jon too, I had played with him before. And the night before, we did a pre-Pouza and we did an in-the-round kinda thing and went song for song. That was super cool. He jumped in on one of my songs and havin’ him sing with me was really cool.
I know you’ve mentioned before that you were excited to see Spells at Pouzza… Yeah, I met those guys on the Off With Their Heads tour that I did and we did 6 shows before Pouzza together. And their Pouzza set was really awesome. It was a good turnout.
Was there anyone that you saw that you hadn’t seen or heard of prior that kinda blew you away? I got to see Ogikubo Station. I got into their record a month before Pouzza. I got to see them play a couple times. And seeing them was really cool.
So let’s talk about the last record. How’d you hook up with Joey Cape? Well they had a One Week tour and they had a stop up in Calgary.
Near your hometown? About an hour from where I live. I got on the bill 3 hours before the show. My friend was putting on the show and I was going to the show anyway. So yeah, I played a 20 minute set. Joey heard it and he liked it but it wasn’t instantaneous. And Walt (Hamburger) and Brian (Walhstrom) were watching and Brian got me to send him some demos and he presented ‘em to Joey. But I met Joey that night and he kinda brought up “you should do a One Week record” and I was like “absolutely!”
And you don’t know if he’s just bullshittin’ you… Well not bullshittin. I just know, even if he was super into it…I know people get busy and I try not to get too excited about things until they happen. So I was like “yeah man, totally, I would love to do that. If that happens, that’d be great.”
I’ve read about people who’ve worked with him and they said they were pretty at ease working with him. But, if it were me and I had to play in front of Joey Cape, I’d be pretty fuckin’ nervous, ya know? Well, I felt like it was gonna be that way but he makes you feel really comfortable. And I was staying at his house too, so I was their guest and his family was pretty rad. He’s the kinda dude that breaks that barrier down and he’s real with you. And then it’s like, “ok, we’re cool.”
Did you feel any pressure to bang out 10 songs in 7 days? Yeah, it’s definitely a lot of work to get those songs done in the amount of time we had. Sometimes, you gotta work through, if you’re hittin’ a wall or you’re burnt out, with that amount of time, you just gotta power through. But for the most, I felt like it was a collaboration of our efforts. We had ideas together.
Were these songs you already had or did you write them in the studio? No, I’ve never done that. Some of the One Weekers, they’ll write or finish songs right there. But I had enough stuff that was ready that we didn’t have to do that.
Were there any songs that Joey completely reworked and you were like “Oh that was a better idea” or was he just throwing out some advice along the way? There was a couple little things, to kinda cut the fat ya know? There were tiny things that didn’t feel like a big deal, but when you listen back, you realize “Oh wow, that made it flow so much better”.
Very cool. So from what I remember, you said you recorded a new album? Yeah, it’s all done and it’s all mastered. I didn’t do this one with Joey. It’s more of a full band kinda record. I worked with another one of my favorite songwriters in Toronto named Eamon McGrath and we recorded it there in between tours a couple of winters ago. And I’ve just been trying to find some help putting it out and I’ve been really busy with booking and everything and I’m gonna try to put my attention towards that now.
From what I’ve noticed, you’re an interesting bill. You’re hard to pigeonhole. You’re not a punk singer, but you’ve recorded with Joey Cape. You’re a singer-songwriter but sometimes I see you billed as a songwriter with a punk soul. Is that something that’s helpful or hurtful to you? I think a lot of the pressure that comes from that is pressure I put on myself. I’m like “holy shit, I’m playin’ with all these crazy bands.” I feel like I’m kinda lucky that I can fit into different genres. I think that most people just love music and they like something that’s real.
And I think that’s one of the best parts about your music. It doesn’t matter what you call it. But if you just listen to it, you can tell that you’re sincere. At that’s what punk rock is to me. It’s not about how distorted your guitar is. It’s more about honesty, with no ego attached to it. Just wanting to put something positive and helpful out rather than something that’s self-serving. And the community, I like being a part of that.
So if you had to name some punk bands that had an influence on you… When I was younger, I was a really big No Use For A Name fan. And a Face to Face fan.
That kind of fits into what you’re doing. You can see a little bit of Tony Sly in your songwriting. That’s a good compliment. Yeah all those guys write on acoustic guitars first and then bring it to the band later.
What about some non-punk influences? I like the Americana stuff a lot, like John Moreland.
I love John Moreland. And even into the more country stuff, I’m a big Roger Miller fan. You know Roger Miller?
I don’t know him. He did the original Robin Hood soundtrack. Remember that cartoon?
Ok (laughing)… (sings) Robin Hood, Little John walk through the…that’s Roger Miller. I like that authentic country type stuff.
Yeah, you can see that come out in your music too…Well, thanks for taking the time to talk to me. Yeah, no problem. Thanks for doing this.